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In a New York state of mind

GRANT'S TOMB:

October 26, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

I told a co-worker the Oakland A's were in trouble when they had the New York Yankees down two games to none. It looks like once again I was right.

I cannot honestly say that I was surprised when the Yankees rallied to beat the A's three straight to advance to the American League Championship Series. I'm not going to say that it made me think twice when the Yankees crushed Seattle in five games. Thus, I will not even bother to scratch my head in wonder when the team from New York wins another World Series.

My friend and fellow die-hard Red Sox fan tells me that I'm simply a good Red Sox fan, forever feeling the Curse of the Bambino. I'll tell you that I'm simply stating what appears to be the truth and that truth is the New York Yankees are simply the best team in baseball.

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I know this will get most baseball fans up off their seats in anger. That's fine. You can tell me all you want about their awful batting averages and poor showings in the regular season. Call them all old, say their pitchers are over the hill. Tell me the only reason they are good is because they have spent more money than any other team. I'll tell you you're wrong on every point.

First of all, it is true most of the Yankees had mediocre seasons. But I don't think enough people consider the fact that this is a team that has won four of the last five World Series titles. Has anyone ever considered that perhaps they are just biding their time, waiting for the playoffs to come around? I certainly have. It must be difficult to concentrate on meaningless games in August when the thought of another run at the World Series is creeping into your mind.

Next, you can talk about their age and you're right, most of them are in the twilight of their careers. Unfortunately for all of us, the twilight of many of these guys' careers seems to be going on forever. Personally, I've been waiting for Roger Clemens to retire, grow old and die since he left Boston five years ago. It just hasn't happened. It looks like Clemens, much like his hero Nolan Ryan, will be able to pitch until he's 45 years old. And isn't that just super! As for the rest of them, they're all playing out of the same deck of cards. Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez and David Justice all seemed close to washed up in the regular season only to turn it on once the playoffs began. This team is hardly over the hill. Maybe their on the back side of the top of the hill and perhaps they're looking at the long slope down, but none of these guys are budging.

Finally the money thing. People blame the Yankees for this year in and year out and in a way they're right to do so. The Yankees do have the most money, but they also use it in the best ways. The team spent $112 million last season and are on their way to another world title. The Red Sox spent $110 million and barely finished over .500 while the Rangers spent $88 million and were the American League's biggest disappointment. So don't blame them for spending the money. If you want to blame them for something, blame them for spending the money in the best way.

Please don't think I've jumped on the pinstripe bandwagon and now will be trading in my Red Sox gear for a Yankees cap. No, I still detest the team from the Bronx and quite frankly would not be all that upset if they get swept by Arizona in the series. It's just that it's not going to happen. The Diamondbacks have a nice little team (with an $85 million payroll) and two fine pitchers, but they're facing the Yankees. In the end, I say the Bronx Bombers take it in five.

But, when you get right down to it, what do I really know? I figured I'd still be rooting for the Red Sox right about now.

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